We like to think that our dogs are the smartest, most adorable, friendliest creatures on Earth. But even the greatest doggo geniuses have dumb moments, and some canines seem like they’re born as giant floofy derps.
Twitter user Bum Chillups posted a story about the dumbest dog they ever owned and invited others to share their own tales. The thread got over 5.4k likes and was retweeted over 1.2k times. Which just goes to show that there are a lot of dumb (but loveable) dogs out there!
Scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview about canine intelligence with Clive Wynne, Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University and author of Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You.
Image credits: edsbs
Professor Wynne believes that there is no such thing as “dumb” dogs, only dogs with varying abilities and dogs that are more adept in different fields. “In general dogs (like people!) vary in their abilities along many dimensions. It isn’t fair to reduce all that to a single dimension of ‘intelligence.’ Different dogs are better and worse at different things.”
Certain dog breeds generally seem smarter than others. Back in 1994, psychologist Stanley Coren ranked over 100 dog breeds based on 3 different types of intelligence: instinctive, adaptive, and working/obedience.
Instinctive intelligence is pretty much easy to understand. If a dog does the tasks it was bred to perform well (like hunting or herding animals), then it’s considered to have high instinctive intelligence.
Meanwhile, adaptive intelligence is a doggo’s ability to solve problems without help and to learn from its previous experiences. Finally, working (aka obedience) intelligence has everything to do with how quickly and easily a dog learns when its taught by us, humans.
However, Professor Wynne doesn’t agree with Coren’s insights and believes that dogs, just like people, are individuals with many different skills and aptitudes.
According to the professor, the differences between breeds are much less important than many people think. “Of course, there are certain behaviors that are quite characteristic of particular breeds—only heelers heel, only pointers point, only herders herd, and so on.”
Wynne continued: “But in the only two major studies looking at differences in behavior both between and within breeds it was found that the differences within breeds were at least as significant as those between breeds. That said, I have to acknowledge that all of the four or five dogs that have been found who understand more than a handful of human words have all been border collies!”
Meanwhile, Nicholas Dodman, former program director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, told Dogster that he had two dogs, one of which was hyperactive while the other was lazy, but this wasn’t indicative of their level of intelligence.
“You would say Jasper was not as smart as Rusty. But once you were out on a trail, Jasper lit up. He was doing the job that nature intended him to do because he was a coonhound, and he was using his super-intelligent nose. He was brilliant at his job, but not so good at some other things,” Dodman explained.
So before deciding whether or not a dog is smart or dumb, it’s important to keep in mind what they were bred for and what their strengths as individuals are. In other words, you can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. Different dog breeds excel at different tasks. And the upside is, when a dog isn’t good at something, it leads to plenty of hilarious canine moments.
Do you have any dumb dog moments to share with us, dear Readers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.